Mt Albert Playcentre - 25/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Mt Albert Playcentre

How well placed is Mt Albert Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Mt Albert Playcentre is a well-established parent cooperative in a residential suburb of Central Auckland. The centre provides sessional education and care for children from birth to school age, five days a week in a mixed age group. The centre is licensed for 30 children per session, including up to 12 less than two years of age. Children and their parents/whānau are encouraged to attend at least two sessions per week. As children become more familiar with Playcentre, they are able to attend at least one session without a parent, and attend three or four days a week.

Centre members provide programmes that are based on child-initiated play and closely relate to the requirements of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The Playcentre philosophy guides the operation of the service.

The centre operates as part of the Auckland Playcentres Association, which provides Playcentre adult education, frameworks of policies and procedures and support from Association personnel. Each Playcentre contributes to the make-up of the Association and has representatives at Association level.

At present the Playcentre Federation is undertaking a restructure with the aim of maintaining the viability of Playcentres throughout New Zealand. This is likely to change the current structure of the Auckland Playcentres Association.

This review was part of a cluster of nine Playcentre reviews in the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The Review Findings

Children attending Mt Albert Playcentre are well supported to engage with and enjoy their play. Adults work with children, talking with them and encouraging problem-solving and thinking. Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in the centre.

Adults are actively involved in providing and managing sessions. They support children’s development and growth towards being capable and confident learners. This aspiration is highly evident in the processes that have been established to support individual children’s strengths, interests and needs.

Children initiate and lead programmes through the choices they make about their play. Adults see their role as supporting and sustaining children’s chosen play. Their high quality conversations with children and provision of resources, support children to gain satisfaction and learning from their play.

Adults provide programmes that are highly inclusive of children and other adults. Sessions are planned to cater for all children including infants and toddlers. Older children are challenged and supported to extend their thinking. Children with diverse needs are given support, some with care workers provided through the Association. This support enables parents/whānau to play with other children.

Centre members have a continuing commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships. Adults support each other to use te reo Māori with children, to sing waiata and to teach children about tikanga Māori. Children and adults competently manage a haka pōwhiri welcome for visitors. Centre displays further support members’ commitment.

Children’s assessment portfolios include stories about their experiences and learning in the centre. Adults evaluate the programme at the end of each session. They discuss individual children’s learning and plan for future ways to extend their learning and interests. Centre members could now consider ways to make children’s progress more visible in assessment documentation.

Members attending the centre take on leadership roles and responsibilities to ensure that the centre operates well. They are engaged in Playcentre adult education and the emergent leadership aims of Playcentre are highly evident in this centre.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored. Management and governance processes are well established. The Association provides assistance for centres, and appropriate Playcentre training courses. It provides regular termly visits from a curriculum and programme supporter. Association office holders are highly committed to the Playcentre philosophy and to maintaining Playcentre as a valuable early childhood education option for parents/whānau.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that their key next steps include:

  • continuing to develop bicultural practices
  • aligning strategic and annual planning to guide the progress of the centre’s goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mt Albert Playcentre completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)
  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)
  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Mt Albert Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 21

Ethnic composition







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

January 2009


Education Review

November 2005

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.